P.S.: This should not be used as reference material for knowledge
areas, process groups and processes. Refer Standard Portfolio Management guide
for full reading and learning. This can be used as tips for remembering these
during the exam.
Portfolio Management Knowledge
area and process groups are listed in the below table. There are 8 defining
process, 6 aligning process and 2 authorizing and controlling process.
For each process there are inputs, tools and techniques and outputs (ITTO). Before we see the list, lets see the important key deliverables and common Inputs and Outputs.
Refer Standard for Portfolio Management for clear list of Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs (ITTO). Here I am showing using abbreviation for ITTO with two options to prepare for the exam (this will help you to prepare the KA and process in the scratch card given in test center quickly while going thru’ the tutorial). For Knowledge area, process, Key deliverables and common Input and output, abbreviations are shown in in the above table within brackets. Other abbreviations used for Tools and Techniques are as below (You can use your own abbreviation which will help you to remember):
ETS – Elicitation Technique
WRS – Weighted Ranking & Scoring
CCA – Capability AND Capacity Analysis
QQA = Quantitative and Qualitative
PMIS – Project Management Information
GAM – Graphical Analytical Method
StA – Stakeholder Analysis
SCA – Scenario Analysis
PrA – Prioritization Analysis
CRA – Communication Requirement Analysis
PCI – Portfolio Component Inventory
I used two options to prepare and
I thought and got comfortable with the second option which helped me to prepare
quickly. Sharing both the options and you can follow any. (Continuous blank is
blacked out as quick highlight)
Option 1 – Inputs
Option 1 – Outputs
Option 1 – Tools & Techniques
Option 2 – ITTO
If you need the excel file template instead of recreating to take print-out and practice, please raise a request here.
Level 1 —Panel Review: The initial evaluation occurs through an extensive application review during which a panel of portfolio managers will assess your professional experience based on your responses to the Portfolio Management Experience Summaries provided on the application.
Level 2 —Multiple-Choice Examination: On approval of Panel Review the next step of evaluation is the multiple-choice examination, which will test your competence in both situational and scenario-based questions.
I’ve heard that lot of people who actually fail panel review are given only one more chance to reapply with updated answers. Here we will see the Level 1 – Panel review with application preparation.
Professional Business Experience
You will have to show eight years of professional business experience to fulfill the eligibility requirements of the PfMP® certification. Record a summary of your professional business experience as part of the application. You have to show 48–84 months of portfolio management experience to meet the four to eight-year eligibility requirement for portfolio management experience.
In the business experience you’ve to show the number of portfolios that you’ve worked to cover the 48 to 84 months experience. Here you need to provide the portfolio duration, number of projects/ programs, value and brief summary on portfolio alignment to organization strategy in 150 to 200 words. Here mainly you will describe the goal of the portfolio with organization strategy.
Portfolio Management Experience Summaries
Each knowledge area will have two options (Option A or Option B). You need to write an essay or summary using option A or B and then map it to show in which professional business experience you got this experience. The related options for each knowledge area are shown below:
Portfolio Strategic Alignment Experience Summary
Option A – Identifying and prioritizing portfolio criteria and evaluating portfolio component priorities based on the organization’s strategic goals and objectives or
Option B – Creating and/or updating a high-level portfolio roadmap using scenarios that helped the organization to align and operationalize the portfolio in accordance with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives
Portfolio Governance Experience Summary
Option A – Securing authorization to execute the portfolio through identification and justification of recommendations regarding the portfolio or
Option B – Ensuring effective and efficient portfolio management by implementing and/or optimizing the portfolio management plan including key components applicable to your portfolio
Portfolio Performance Experience Summary
Option A – Managing portfolio changes to optimize resource utilization and/or ensure portfolio effectiveness and efficiency or
Option B – Evaluating continuous progress toward the achievement of business or strategic goals through the collection, consolidation, and measurement of portfolio value
Portfolio Risk Management Experience Summary
Option A – Developing and/or updating the portfolio risk management plan or
Option B – Enabling the organization to capitalize on an opportunity(ies) or manage threat(s) based on portfolio risk management processes, methods, and/or techniques
Option A – Developing, and/or updating a portfolio communication strategy and plan or
Option B – Engaging stakeholders to set and manage expectations and influence the success of the portfolio
Guidelines on how to document Experience Summary
Read the handbook and standard portfolio management before starting to write the portfolio experience summary.
Portfolio experience summary or essay need to be written in 300 to 500 words. In general experience summary is nothing but writing a story on how you managed the portfolio to align with the organizational strategy.
When you define your portfolio, it defines components (i.e. projects, programs, ongoing operations, portfolio and other work) and how they were grouped to align with goals.
Use more practical information such as value ($), number of years, number of resources, number of projects/ programs/ operations/ portfolios, stakeholder roles, increase in productivity in % or value, any revenue increase, decrease in wastage or % growth.
Remember portfolios have an organizational scope that changes with the strategic objectives of the organization.
Explain how you were balancing conflicting demands between programs and projects, allocates resources (e.g., people, funding) based on organizational priorities and capacity, and manages to achieve the benefits identified.
Include references to Portfolio Charter, Portfolio Strategic Plan, Portfolio Roadmap, PMO, Portfolio Governance, Portfolio Sponsors, Portfolio Stakeholders, Portfolio Risk Management Plan, Portfolio Communication Management Plan and how they were used in your Portfolio.
Started preparing my application for panel review.
Spent one week for preparing the essays for each knowledge area. There are 5 knowledge areas in Portfolio Management.
Sent the essays for review with my facilitator and he is very good in giving suggestions and challenging me to develop it better. (He showed only one example during training and didn’t give any samples. This helped in writing by thinking and not based on samples)
On completion of review and approval from my facilitator started updating the PMI® application.
Started filling the application (advice) in PMI® website.
If you’ve prepared the knowledge area experience backwards start filling it backwards.
If you’ve prepared the knowledge area experience from the early stages of your portfolio experience, then start filling from that stage.
Application experience loading will freeze once it reaches the required hours and months.
Based on how you’ve shown the experience you need to link the knowledge area essays.
Before submitting the application, I contacted all my managers whom I’ve referenced in the application that I’m applying for PfMP® certification and if I receive any audit, would contact them for endorsement.
On getting concurrence from them, I submitted the application to PMI®.
Once PMI® accepted the application, I did the payment and it was taken for panel review.
Panel review took little more than 30 days. In handbook it is mentioned as 30 days but it took little more than that.
Repeated reading of Standard for Portfolio Management 2 more times.
If you’ve read the Standard for Portfolio Management with full concentration then this exam will be easier.
The exam is for 4 hours with multiple choice of 170 questions. The exam needs to be taken in Pearson Vue.
Reach well ahead of time and if there is slot available then they will be able to start the exam immediately on reaching after completing formalities.
Pearson Vue has locker available where in you can store wallet, watch, mobile and other small items. Suggest not to take books and bags which need to be kept outside. You’re allowed to take only the locker key and your government issued ID card inside.
Suggest to take a break in-between but there is no official break in the exam.
It’s important to understand all process groups, knowledge areas, processes & their respective ITTOs (Input, Tools & Techniques and Outputs). Expect some direct and some indirect questions on ITTOs. Prepare the processes and ITTO during the tutorial in the scratch pad provided if possible or after starting some questions.
Expect some questions related to analyzing which Portfolio component to select based on NPV, IRR, ROI, Weighted Ranking & Scoring, etc.
I got some questions from the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) especially in Earned Value Management (EVM) – CPI and SPI.
Understand the key deliverables and its differences – Strategic Plan, Portfolio Charter, Portfolio Roadmap, Portfolio Management Plan, Portfolio and Portfolio Process Assets. It’s important to understand how The Standard for Portfolio Management clearly segregates their respective inputs, contents and timing of updates.
The key deliverables are Strategic Plan, Portfolio Charter, Portfolio Roadmap, Portfolio Management Plan and Portfolio.
Common Input and Output are Portfolio Reports, Portfolio process Assets, Organizational Process Assets and Enterprise Environmental Factors.
My overall suggestion is to read all related reference materials and standards with full concentration.
All the very best for all PfMP candidates!
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